The three week experiment has run its course and now Alfonso Soriano will be moving back to his original, er, well, his most recent position. After playing shortstop in the minors, second base in the American League and left field for the Nationals, Soriano’s three weeks in center was special. His circuitous routes to the ball were nerve rattling and his inability to command the outfield were blatantly obvious which necessitated this move. Lou can point to other reasons, but we all know that Soriano was a defensive liability in centerfield and this move will have a chain reaction through the clubhouse. On Friday afternoon, I saw Felix Pie in person. If you have not done this yet, please do. I was speechless. His speed is blinding and his defense superb. He made multiple plays of which no one else on the roster is capable. Everyone saw his arm on Tuesday afternoon. His bat will come around and in my opinion his time has come. Lou said he wants to carry 12 pitchers which means a roster move needs to be made, and that is where this gets interesting.
Everyone speculated that Jacque Jones was on his way out of town the second the 2006 season ended, it has yet to transpire. With the decision to move Soriano to left, JJ is simply not a satisfactory replacement. I would hypothesize that Pie saved no less than 3 runs in the series against the Cardinals, seriously, in person, he is breathtaking. On a team with a plethora of power hitters, hiding Pie in the eight hole is plausible. The one glaring issue with this theory is that the Cubs are already hiding Izturis/Cedeno in that position.
This conundrum raises the defense versus offense question once again. Many readers of this site have divisive opinions, especially in the case of Izturis. Can a major league team win with two liabilities at the end of the lineup? Once the pitcher is added, the Cubs are basically saying mercy at least three times a game. On the other hand, Izturis and Pie are phenomenal on the defensive side and have made game saving plays already.
Unfortunately, I think the Cubs will send Pie down when they decide to add the 12th pitcher. Hopefully this will be a trial run and if it is unsuccessful Pie will be back soon. Inevitably trade rumors will continue until JJ is either traded or Hendry makes a public statement contradicting popular belief. Pie will play every day whether in Iowa or in Chicago, with that being the case, Hendry needs to address the shortstop position. Can Theriot play, well; we have yet to see it? Can Mr. Versatility Mark DeRosa man the position?
So, what do you think? As a fan, what do you want to see happen? If DeRosa or Theriot are incapable of playing short, then I would like to keep Pie in center and trade Jacque Jones and Will Ohman for a middle reliever and a shortstop that has an OBP of .350 or better. I do not care if they only hit .265 or .270, I just want someone who can flip the batting order over one-third of the time. One may think that is too much, but do not forget Jacque hit .285 with 27 homeruns and 81 RBI’s; the Cubs could possibly land a shortstop for that offensive production.
Speaking of roster moves, anyone else get the feeling Neal Cotts may be starting a game very soon?
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Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!